A question about DSL, dial-up, cable & satellite

By learninmypc
Jul 22, 2012
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  1. I'm very familiar with dial-up since I spent my first 10 years on it & loved it.
    I then graduated to wi fi/DSL.
    Ok, my question is why do I hear so much bad mouthing about Satellite being so slow? How can it be so slow when the signal travels thru air?
    I can understand DSL, Dial-up & cable being slow because it travels thru wire, but not satellite.:confused:TIA
  2. fimbles

    fimbles TS Evangelist Posts: 1,154   +197

    Satelite broadband has high latency due to the signal being bounced from earth to space and back again. ( around 22 miles). Other conditions such as weather and line of sight can also affect performance.

    Edit : 22 thousand is correct :p
  3. learninmypc

    learninmypc TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 6,551   +332

    Thank you for your reply. Guess I get to find out what latency means.(y)
  4. Cinders

    Cinders TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 872   +12

    Um, I think that's more like 22 thousand miles each way. Latency is the amount of time it takes the signal to leave the dish on the roof, go to the satellite and then return to earth at the ground station where the signal is decoded and then sent down a wire to its final destination. Satellite internet is probably OK for just regular browsing but it's terrible for gaming, all that extra traveling the data has to do to get to it's final destination can add roughly 150-220 ms to your ping.
  5. learninmypc

    learninmypc TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 6,551   +332

    I can't argue with either 22 miles or 22.000 miles but I'd say it depends on how high up that satellite is but either way, its a long way up there. I guess it would be smarter if I contacted a satellite ISP & see if I could find out how high up there their satellite is.
    Anyway, I thank you both for your responses. Have an awesome day.
  6. Cinders

    Cinders TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 872   +12

    It's 22,000 miles. I used to work for Dish Network. They are a satellite internet service provider. OH, the word "ping" is just another term for latency.
  7. learninmypc

    learninmypc TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 6,551   +332

    Ok & thanks. I've heard both the words latency & ping mentioned in here but never knew what it was so thanks.
  8. mopar man

    mopar man TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,379

    All of the information in this thread is correct. However, friends of mine HATE satellite even for browsing the web!

    They are apparently very slow (even for just browsing) and they go out way too often. My friend who lives close to me stated that every time we got cloud cover, boom, no internet or it was intermittent.
  9. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,143   +597

    PING is a tool used to measure latency. The tool ping uses a protocol {ping what else} to send a packet to the remote end and measures the time to receive the return - - much like doppler radar or sonar in water.

    DSL and Cable service have dissimilar bandwidths for download (ie from the server to the pc) and upload times,
    frequently ~10/1 ratio. Satellite can get much worse as most of the time, the upload side is done over a landline
    and not directly to the satellite. Satellite services is deployed where DSL and Cable do not have service, such as rual America.
  10. learninmypc

    learninmypc TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 6,551   +332

    Thanks, I enjoy learning.(y)

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